Monday, February 27, 2012
Same story with Ben only his should have been a warranty repair. Mailed them back to the states with a ten day shipping postmarked Jan 6. Still haven't arrived...I don't hold out much hope since they are over a month late now. I paid $8 to ship uninsured. Other option was $54 with insurance. Double that to get it back and it was the same cost as a brand new pair so I chose to play the odd. Looks like I lose this round.
Jake. Now that's a good story I don't have the patience to blog from my phone. Maybe when I have a minute to sit at the computer. Let's just say it involved multiple trips to the store, tantrums, lots of tears, some full body wrestling, a pregnant lady chasing him down the street when he made a fast escape and he now has a neon orange pair of specs but he is willing to wear them to I conceded a loss on color.
Here's hoping the baby is the first with a good set of peepers. Someone ought to take after daddy!
Sunday, February 26, 2012
|The boys are ready to go!|
|Mom and Maddie at the Merlion enjoying the city skyline.|
|Ben got thirsty and needed a drink in the hot weather.|
The Merlion was happy to help out.
|Flat Stanley enjoys a picnic in the jungle hut on the beach of Sentosa Island.|
|Flat Stanley climbing in the jungle near the equator.|
|Maddie and Flat Stanley watching the ocean freighters off the coast of Singapore.|
|Ben and Stanley at the baby Merlion statue.|
|Zufelts across from the Merlion.|
Look how tiny the people are that are standing next to it!
At this point I’m ready to blow a gasket. Poor Brian, drenched in sweat like the rest of us ends up running back the tram route to search the toilets and the trash cans in the toilet area while I get the kids buckled and the boys changed into church clothes in the car. He comes back fifteen minutes later empty handed. No Flat Stanley. Neither one of us has a single nice word to say to that child and when you don’t have anything nice to say we just choose not to say anything at all.
|Maddie and Flat Stanley at the Southern Most Point of Continental Asia!|
|Maddie and Flat Stanley at the Southern Most Point of Continental Asia!|
|Ben and Flat Stanley at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and Casino in Singapore.|
The three towers hold a boat like structure and have a swimming pool on top!
|Zufelt kids show Flat Stanley the central business district skyline of Singapore.|
|Maddie on the suspension bridge at Palawan Beach, Sentosa Island, Singapore.|
Heading back from the Southern Most Point of Continental Asia.
This is the last picture we have of our friend before he was lost forever.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Having Gina here is great. She is happy and kind and so helpful. The weird thing is I’m not so pulled in a million directions, especially at dinner and homework time. I’m having to learn to play again. It’s nice to be able to tell Jacob I can play bingo now instead of putting on a movie for him. Or read a book to Maddie rather than have her empty the dishwasher while I stir something on the stove. To focus on homework with Ben is a real treat so he’s turning in good quality work and really hitting the spelling words he needs so desperately to work on instead of yelling from the kitchen over the TV to the office how to spell things and then checking the paper when he finished only to make him go back and correct a million things. Sitting together for homework is one of my favorite bonuses. We are both much happier. Gina is a real blessing right now.
Saturday, February 18, 2012
Jacob’s friend is chasing him around in circles trying to pinch his shoulder (with a balloon animal dog). The circle has gone round and round and round until Jacob has basically lapped his buddy and only inches behind him now instead of the other way around. That’s when he starts yelling, “Mama! Mama! Help me!!” I’m not really sure what to say. Possibly, “Stop running.” You’re actually catching HIM instead of him catching you now.
We have between 11 and 18 days until the baby is here with a yet to be scheduled c-section and no names we can agree on. I did see one at Jake’s preschool that we may consider if it’s a boy. Mokshit. What do you think? I can’t come up with anyway to pronounce it that isn’t just plain terrible to an English speaker.
Friday, February 17, 2012
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
I may not be blogging much, but I’m still alive. Today is Valentines Day. When we were dating Brian and I rarely actually dated, as in went out somewhere public and spent money on a date. For the most part we hung out with friends at my apartment or his and did stuff at home. Our first Valentines Day together we made sugar cookies together. Despite the severe amount of mocking he does about people and their traditions, he does seem to enjoy this particular one and has kept it going for a long, long time.
This year I made the cookies while he was at work and had the frosting and everything we needed ready to go when he got home. My master plan was that we could do homework, dinner and decorating and still make our regular bedtime. Jake wasn’t on board. He cried most the afternoon. Then the second we sat to dinner he started crying. It was so bad and so loud that Brian ended up taking him into another room. Twice. He never did recover and ended up going to bed without eating a single bite of food. But, to stay on schedule for bedtime Brian took him upstairs and Ben and Maddie and I decorated all the cookies alone. It worked, but it wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. We delivered a bunch of plates of sweets to the neighbors on our street because it was too late to go far. Then we had a few cookies to snack on and brushed teeth and sent them off to bed. I had fun, but hope next year will be a full family event.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
In August I was invited on a girls trip to Malacca, Malaysia for one night (Fri/Sat) with five other ladies from church. I really, really wanted to go, but with no helper and not a single neighbor in the neighborhood since the great summer exodus of the Americans what was I to do? I couldn't go. Who would watch the kids? I "replied all" to the email invite my regrets despite wanting to go. To my surprise, Kristi, who I had barely known before hatched a plan. Her kids and mine are all the same age and sex and had become friends at church on Sunday because they were all three in the same age group classes (they are Australian and in local schools so still in school in June/July/Aug). She suggested that maybe I could drop them in the morning as we left for the bus, the kids could have a bit of a play date and Brian could pick them up in the early afternoon on his way home from work and Saturday Brian would be home anyway. I was game so we had a intro play date where all went well and sweet Gina watched my kids so I could have a quick getaway. That's how it all started I suppose.
Then our kids and theirs became fantstic friends and we soon had Friday afternoon swim dates at their condo and Gina would offer to watch the kids on occasion so Brian and I could do a quick dinner date. I know kids mostly play and entertain themselves and sometimes having a play date makes the work end up easier in a way but still, it's a bunch of kids she was watching! She was so good to us and we soaked up every second of our three or four date nights since August.
Starting January all of Kristi's kiddos were now in school so they don't need quite the same amount of help anymore. And I was freaking out about what to do when the baby comes. I'd spend an entire year looking for a support system here to help with kid swaps and the like only to be disappointed. (That's an understatement - I actually got emails from people telling me in no uncertain terms "we don't help each other here, you have to hire help", no joke, I really got an email that said that).
I know that physically my recovery from the c-section can be really hard and I know I have to walk 1 1/2 miles everyday pushing a stroller with Jake (and new baby) to drop off and pick up Maddie from school. the walk isn't negotiable. Timing was good and Gina is perfect. She accepted our offer to come work for us and she started last Wednesday. It seems to me that in the last year I've prayed on five different occasions, usually in a mode of desperation and frusteration, about hiring help. Each time the answer has been very clear that it wasn't the right thing for our family. This time was different. I felt nothing but calm about inviting Gina into our home. I knew it would be an adjustment but so far so good.
One week in and everything looks great so far. The kids adored Gina before she arrived and love to show her off to anyone and everyone that comes over. I have gotten so much dejunking, clutter control, finance updates in Quicken and random jobs taken care of I can hardly believe it! Ben's homework quality has gotten much better because I can help him with focused attention instead of multi-tasking making dinner/homework/toy clean up/fight settler/door answering/everything else. Brian's comment the second day in was, "Looks like we are going to have more well rounded meals now." Can't argue that. I committed to a healthy main dish - veggies, fruit, etc were a bonus dish when I got to them. Often I threw a bag of baby carrots on the table and called it good but even that much wasn't happening lately.
Certainly there are things I will have to be better at communicating. Brian and I went to the Thaipusim Festival in Little India Tuesday morning at 3:30am because Gina was here with the kids and Brian had to work all day so it was our only chance to see it together. We planned to be back by 6am to wake the kids so nothing to do but be physically present in the house. She said to knock on her door when we left so I did, thinking that was a little strange. Talk about going above and beyond. She is so fantstic, she got up at 3:30 and stayed awake so the kids were cared for until we got home at 5:30am. I felt SOOOO bad when I got home. I never stated it, but figured she'd crack open her door and sleep. If someone woke up crying or some random thing like that - which they never do - she'd help them out. So I'm a work in progress and she's fantastic. No surprise there! We love having Gina around and all the help she is providing our family. Right now it's the honeymoon phase. In four weeks, baby comes and my real work begins and I will appreciate her even more then than I do already.
"Please pick up those Lego's and put them in the bucket." "No." "I need you to be my helper today."
"It's time to set the table for dinner." "Why do I have to do it?" "Because you're my helper in this family and we all have jobs we have to do."
You know, that sort of thing. Trouble is, here in Singapore the title "helper" is used to mean something totally different. That is what people call their live in maids, using the term helper and maid interchangeably. You wouldn't believe the looks of horror I once got at the park when Ben and Maddie were throwing fits over leaving and picking up the picnic or whatever was spread all over the ground before we left. The park was packed with Singaporean folks and when I said something like, "You have to pick it up because you're my helpers." I knew instantly I had messed up again from the looks on their faces.
Time ticked on and I've been able to edit my vocabulary about half the time, the other half I just quit caring what they think. My kids are my helpers. Deal with it.
We settled into our house when our household goods shipment arrived and the kids began to make friends. One thing they became aware of incredibly quickly was that everyone in our neighborhood had a helper living with them. Then play dates begun and the helpers, well, they helped. They often got the kids snacks or changed a TV station and other random simple things like that. Trouble was my kids started noticing that they also cooked dinner and did laundry.
Soon came summer and all the friends disappeared for their 8-10 week holidays back with grandparents in the US and we were left alone. Without school to keep the kids busy, at least in my view, the kids had time to help around the house more. I will never forget one hot and humid June morning hearing a four year old Maddie throwing a tantrum in our backyard. She was in no mood to help with any chores whatsoever but especially not folding laundry. She screamed at the top of her lungs for the entire world to hear, "I should NOT have to do laundry! THIS IS MAIDS WORK!!!!"
Well nothing could strengthen my resolve more than a moment like that from my most strong willed and defiant child because frankly it would be really nice for momma to have that kind of help at home. The decision was made. No way, no how were we ever getting a helper. It sounded like a guaranteed way to cement in my children an attitude of entitlement and privileged. Months later though, we found out that Maddie and Ben had, without our permission, hired a maid. They named her Sarah. She was their imaginary helper and they loved her to death. She was nice and did all their chores. Brian and I were totally amused that they had schemed this up on their own and talked to each other about things Sarah was doing or was going to do.
Check out this article Lucinda sent me today. Totally made my day because I laughed as I saw myself writing the exact same darn thing knowing people think I'm so negative sometimes. This article is mentally written by me, I just lack the great english literary skills this gal has to put it out in print. My favorite line is this: "I can't even carpe fifteen minutes in a row, so a whole diem is out of the question."
All I can say is they hit the nail right on the head.
Surviving and Sometimes Even Thriving in Singapore (aka Angie Sue)
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Jacob came just before Christmas so I missed two Christmas parties I really wanted to go to but then the world slowed down and people left town to visit family for the holidays and school was out and we had a snow storm. Life was a good kid of dead.
Here we are facing our fourth delivery. Do I miss the school performances? Ben being awarded his cub scout wolf badge? Swim lessons we paid for and are finally seeing progress with? Ballet lessons? Pinewood derby? Ugh.
I think if I can't manage to sweet talk the doctor into going 3 days earlier than his prescribed window (March 6 +/- 4 days) to get my leap day baby then I'm going with 3/3/12. Cute in the USA. Great for an international baby from the USA. Every medical/school/government form I complete I have to double check i have the month and day correct since they are written opposite here from what I have done my whole life. 3/3. So easy. I'll have to check with Brian who has been working on picking "the most auspicious day on the Chinese calendar." He even knows the hour of day that is best according to the moon and the experts in numerology.